Bertram Morris and
of colloquium papers.
24th Annual Bertram Morris Colloquium
The Ethics and Politics of Consumerism
March 13-18, 2000
Each year the CU-Boulder Philosophy Department hosts
a colloquium in honor of Bertram Morris (1908-1981), a former professor
in our department who is remembered for his commitment to both the philosophical
and practical aspects of pressing social issues.
The topic of this spring's Morris Colloquium is
Ethics and Politics of Consumerism. It will be held during the week
of March 13-18, 2000, and consist of video presentations, colloquium
papers, and panel debates and discussions.
Our aim is to begin a well-informed dialogue about
the effects of consumerism on the environment, the character of our communities,
our individual well-being, and people in the developing world.
The following topics and questions will be addressed
during the week:
Because this topic has significant popular appeal as
well as academic interest, this year the philosophical presentations will
be supplemented with a video series at the beginning of the week and a
community forum on Saturday, both of which are being co-organized by the
Philosophy Department and the CU Environmental Center. The United Government
of Graduate Students has generously agreed to help finance the event.
Consumption, resources, and the environment.
North American consumption is out of proportion to our share of the world's
population and is arguably fueling a global environmental crisis. What
can we do to reduce the "ecological footprint" of our way of life?
Cultural conflicts. How is the globalization
of the consumer economy affecting quality of life and cultural identity
in the developing world? What, if anything, can (or should) be done to
manage or mitigate these influences?
Globalization, labor, and consumer choice. Is
it ethical for multinational corporations to employ workers overseas in
conditions regarded as intolerable in the U.S.? How should American consumers
respond to the charge that certain goods have been produced in exploitative
labor conditions in the developing world?
Community vitality. The commercial sector in
the U.S. is becoming increasingly consolidated and homogenized. Should
municipalities like Boulder enact ordinances to keep large national chains
from overrunning locally-owned, independent businesses? Are there other
ways to preserve the distinctive character of smaller communities?
Simple living. Is the simple life a more appealing
vision of the good than the consumer lifestyle? What are some realistic
strategies for lifestyle "downshifting" -- i.e., for cutting back on consumer
goods, work, stress and debt? Does the simplicity movement pose a viable
challenge to consumerism?
All events are free and open to the public.
Morris Colloquium 2000 is co-sponsored
the Morris Fund, the Department of
the Center for Values and Social
Policy, the CU Environmental Center,
and the United Government of Graduate